Sunday, January 29, 2006

Lawmakers Push Bush on Abramoff Contacts

Guess what? It's time for another exciting episode of The Jack Abramoff Show! Tonight's exciting episode--Who's On First? This is from Yahoo News:

WASHINGTON - Republican lawmakers said Sunday that President Bush should publicly disclose White House contacts with Jack Abramoff, the lobbyist who has pleaded guilty to felony charges in an influence-peddling case.

Releasing the records would help eliminate suspicions that Abramoff, a top fundraiser for Bush's re-election campaign, had undue influence on the White House, the Republicans said.

"I'm one who believes that more is better, in terms of disclosure and transparency," said Sen. John Thune, R-S.D. "And so I'd be a big advocate for making records that are out there available."

The president has refused to reveal how much access Abramoff had to the White House, but has said he does not know Abramoff personally. Bush has said federal prosecutors are welcome to see the records of Abramoff's contacts if they suspect something inappropriate, but he has not released them publicly.

Rep. Mike Pence (news, bio, voting record), R-Ind., who appeared with Thune on "Fox News Sunday,", said all White House correspondence, phone calls and meetings with Abramoff "absolutely" should be released.

"I think this president is a man of unimpeachable integrity," Pence said. "The American people have profound confidence in him. And as Abraham Lincoln said, `Give the people the facts and republican governance perhaps will be saved.'"

Bush's spokesman has said Abramoff was admitted to the White House complex for "a few staff-level meetings" and Hanukkah receptions in 2001 and 2002. The White House will not say how many times the lobbyist came in, who he met with or what business he had there.

Bush said he had his picture taken with Abramoff an unknown number of times, but he said he doesn't remember taking them and the two never sat down and had a discussion. Bush said he has had his photo taken with thousands of people, but that doesn't mean he knows them well.

You know what surprises me here? It is that the REPUBLICANS, in Congress are calling for President Bush to release the records and the photos of the White House involvement in the Abramoff scandal. And the Bush administration still refuses to release any records, and yet continues to claim that President Bush doesn't personally know Abramoff.

Watch the nose grow on the puppet here! Continuing on:

Sen. Chuck Hagel (news, bio, voting record), R-Neb., played down the notion that Bush was beholden to Abramoff because of a few donations. But Hagel said Bush should release the photos to avoid giving Democrats unnecessary political ammunition.

"Get it out. Get it out. Come on," Hagel said, adding the photos will eventually leak out anyway.

"I mean, disclosure is the real issue. Whether it's campaign finance issues, whether it's ethics issues, whether it's lobbying issues, disclosure is the best and most effective way to deal with all of these things," he said on ABC's "This Week."

Thune said pictures should not be released because it is clear that Democrats would use any pictures of Bush with Abramoff for political purposes.

"But I do think it's important that everybody understand what this guy's level of involvement was," Thune said.

Of course, even the Republicans are starting to contradict themselves, considering that Thune says the pictures of Bush and Abramoff should not be released since they could be used politically against the Republican party. But Thune, Pence, Hagel, and other Republican congressmen are saying that the Bush White House should release all the other records, not knowing how much political damage to the White House and the Republicans, that those records could contain. Talk about Keystone Cops here.

The Democrats are not much better in this farce, but the Democrats don't control of Congress, so they can't much of anything. Continuing on:

Democrats have complained about Bush's refusal to disclose White House dealings with Abramoff, who represented six Indian tribes with casinos and several other clients.

The chairman of the Democratic National Committee, Howard Dean, made it clear that Abramoff's relationship with Republicans will be an issue in this year's congressional campaign.

"If the American people will put us back in power in '06, we will have on the president's desk things that outlaw all those kinds of behavior," Dean said on Fox.

But the comments from the Republicans, who hold the majority in Congress, show that it's not just Democrats who would like to see Bush come clean.

In a Washington Post-ABC News poll released Friday, 76 percent of those surveyed said the Bush administration should provide a list of all meetings any White House officials have had with Abramoff. Two in three Republicans joined with eight in 10 Democrats and political independents in favoring disclosure, according to the poll.

Now the Democrats have called upon the U.S. attorney general to appoint a special prosecutor in handling the Abramoff probe, after the current chief prosecutor Noel Hillman was appointed by President Bush for a federal judgeship in New Jersey. Like it or not, the timing on this appointment really stinks, considering the Abramoff probe is starting to taint the Bush White House--and Bush appoints the current prosecutor to a federal judge. Gee--what's President Bush hiding?

You just have to marvel at the sheer incompetence of this farce.

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